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21 octobre 2016

Tiny DNA tweaks made snakes legless [Science]

Sometimes, a genetic tweak can make a really big difference in an animal’s appearance. That’s what likely happened when the predecessors of modern snakes lost their legs, a process that started some 150 million years ago, two separate groups of scientists have discovered. Although the teams took very different approaches to solve the mystery of how those limbs vanished, both came up with similar results : Mutations in DNA located near a gene key to limb formation keep that gene from ever turning on, they report today.

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20 octobre 2016

Amazonian frog has its own ant repellent [Phys]

Special chemicals covering the skin of a tiny yellow-striped Amazonian frog provide a protective shield that wards off leaf-cutting ants allowing it to live comfortably among them. "It helps the frog blend in, because it imitates the ants own chemical signals," says André Barros of the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil. He led a study in Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The ants do not give it even a single bite, but will quite aggressively attack all other types of frogs or other animals that cross their path.

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20 octobre 2016

Une baie invasive influe sur la pigmentation des pics flamboyants [Sciences et Avenir - Animaux]

La baie de chèvrefeuille asiatique serait à l’origine de la coloration saisonnière des pics flamboyants.

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20 octobre 2016

Les mystérieuses « pierres taillées » de singes brésiliens [Le Monde - Sciences]

Des capucins produisent par accident des éclats coupants dont ils ne font rien, mais ces fragments posent des questions sur l’origine des premiers outils.

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20 octobre 2016

How the African clawed frog got an extra pair of genes [Phys]

The African clawed frog’s ancestor inherited one set of chromosomes each from two different species and doubled its whole genome some 18 million years ago, according to an international research consortium led by Japanese and American scientists who sequenced the entire genome of the Xenopus laevis for the first time. Scientists hope that the finding will help our understanding of vertebrate evolution, as the vertebrate genome doubled twice 500 million years ago.

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